New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended hitting his favorite public gym Monday morning just hours before ordering all commercial gyms to close their doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. de Blasio, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, was heavily criticized after he was spotted at the Prospect Park YMCA in Brooklyn at a time when Americans are being urged to stay home and avoid public spaces to help curb the outbreak.

“I don’t get it, but we’ll move on with our lives,” he said of the backlash Tuesday on CNN, the Washington Examiner reported. “The gyms are all closed now.”

“Everyone is going to have to make a sacrifice,” he continued. “But as our health commissioner said yesterday, people still in new ways are going to have to get exercise. Whatever scenario, we’re going to tell people how to stay healthy. It may be a walk, it may be a jog, but obviously socially distanced — until and unless we get to the point of literally ordering everyone indoors.”

On Monday, Mr. de Blasio defended his workout session by stating “there was almost no one there” and arguing that he needs to stay healthy in order to effectively lead the city.

“I suspected that we were all going to be about to close them down, and this would be the last time to get some exercise,” he said.

The mayor also blasted his critics during his weekly Monday appearance on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” after former confidantes and longtime advisers Rebecca Katz and Jonathan Rosen called his actions “inexcusable” and “reckless.”

“I respect them both; they can say what they want, but I think this is just a perverse reaction, honestly,” Mr. de Blasio responded, the New York Post reported.

“There’s something wrong in the world where this kind of very small matter gets blown up like that by people, you know, who live in a world of public relations,” he added. “I don’t live in that world. I live in the regular world.”

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